The ACT Mental Health Advisory Council has seven members appointed for a period of up to three years. The Council provides considered advice to the Minister for Mental Health and the Coordinator-General, Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing.
The ACT Mental Health Advisory Council is established under the Mental Health Act 2015 to provide advice about:
- emerging or urgent mental health issues; and
- mental health service reforms; and
- mental health policy; and
- mental health legislative change; and
- anything else in relation to mental health and social and emotional wellbeing as requested by the Minister.
Members are appointed by the Minister for Mental Health on the basis of their individual expertise and to reflect the diversity of the ACT community. The Council brings together knowledge, skills and experience in promotion of mental health, mental health care services and addressing mental illness.
Jenni Shoring, Chair
Jenni Shoring is a proud transgender woman and a Canberra local having lived and grown up in the ACT. Jenni is currently working as the Operations Manager for A Gender Agenda (AGA), a not-for-profit organisation that works with the transgender, gender diverse and intersex community in the ACT. Jenni has links to the LGBTIQ+ community and is a strong advocate for the trans and gender diverse community. Jenni was a part of the Gender Affirming Guidance Working Group to develop the Guidance to support gender affirming care for mental health (the Guidance) representing AGA and someone who has lived experience of being a trans woman. Jenni is also one of the key stakeholders who sits on the Gender Affirming Guidance Implementation Advisory Group. Jenni is currently coordinating the targeted training to health and mental health care providers in the ACT to outline the key messages of the Guidance. Jenni has significant experience in management roles, having worked in retail in the ACT for over 20 years. Jenni’s management roles have seen her work with a team that have also experienced mental illness, and she has completed various management training through organisations such as the National Australia Bank, Optus and Rebel Sport on identifying and supporting team with mental illness.
Associate Professor Jeffery Looi
Professor Looi is a Clinical Academic Psychiatrist who works across public, private and the University sector. He is currently working in Canberra Health Services, at the Australian National University Medical School and private practice. Professor Looi has more than 20 years of experience across mental health in clinical practice, policy, research, teaching, administration and advocacy at state and federal levels. He has international clinical research experience, including as a Fulbright Scholar at UCLA and Karolinska Institute, and works two days a week in clinical practice.
As a long-term resident of the ACT, Professor Looi has a deep commitment to education, health, culture and welfare of the ACT, advocating through service with the Canberra Health Services, ANU Medical School, Australian Medical Association (AMA), Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF) and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).
Tiahn Hannaford has lived experience of mental illness both first-hand and as a carer and is a Provisional Psychologist. She is currently studying a Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology at Macquarie University and is involved in psychology research at the Australian National University. Ms Hannaford has engaged in services both public and private, ranging from utilising Mental Health Care Plans for psychology sessions, through to long-term inpatient settings on both medical and psychiatric wards. Through her lived experience, and work in the mental health field, she now has a broad understanding of the resources available for mental health support in the ACT and the difficulties which can arise in attempting to access services, particularly for young people and the queer community. Ms Hannaford has a passion for the role of women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) fields. She completed her Bachelor of Psychology (honours) at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2020, graduating with a specialisation in neuroscience and physiology. Her area of academic interest is broad, encompassing both neurological and psychological approaches to psychopathology and psychological wellness. Ms Hannaford worked as a Recovery Mentor and Support Coordinator at the Mental Health Foundation ACT for several years before working as a Provisional Psychologist for Altius Group, then commenced her masters program in 2023. Her interest in psychological assessment and intervention continues to grow as a both a professional and personal passion, and she is looking forward to completing placements for her current degree in the ACT health system.
Ellen Somerville is an organisational change manager who is passionate about improving mental health to enable people to be the best version of themselves. Ellen has previous experience volunteering within Headspace on their youth advisory group and the Young and Well Corporative Research Centre (CRC). Whilst volunteering, Ellen has utilised her lived experience with mental illness to provide feedback and review mental health material. In Ellen’s professional life, she strives to create and maintain psychologically safe environments for people transitioning through change. Ellen is committed to early intervention and prevention and advocates for creating mentally healthy habits.
Anne Nguyen is a registered clinical psychologist with 20 years of experience delivering and managing mental health services across the life span and in various therapeutic contexts such as hospital, community, defence and education settings. She currently works as a manager consultant for Nous utilising evidence-based management approaches to solving complex organisational and social issues. She continues to work in a private practice teaching and supervising provisional psychologists and providing evidence based psychological treatment to children, young people and their families. Anne is also an Army Reserve Psychologist with 15 years military experience and has had the privilege of providing psychological support on operations in the Solomon Islands and Middle East. She regularly provides psychological support to the Defence Arts Resilience, Recovery and Team skills program that operates biannually out of the University of Canberra. Previously, she led the organisational change management and implementation of electronic health records in education and supported the training of secondary school educators in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST). Anne is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and College of Clinical Psychologists. She recently completed her Masters in Business Administration (Advance) from the Australian National University and hopes to apply her training to improve the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of Canberrans.
Dr Anup Pereira
Dr Anup Pereira is an experienced health care worker who has dedicated more than a decade of his career bringing about meaningful health outcomes in the community both internationally, nationally and locally in Canberra. Dr. Anup’s taken a break from his profession as a dentist to focus on his passion and interest in the area of Mental Health, Alcohol and other Drugs and Blood-Borne Viruses. He has worked exclusively in the multicultural space to support individuals from diverse, multilingual and low-socio economic backgrounds and is grateful of the relationship he has cultivated with community leaders and gatekeepers in working closely with Canberra’s diverse groups. Dr Anup has experience volunteering in the mental health space in Melbourne and Canberra and worked as the Senior Officer for 2 years at Mental Health Australia on a national multicultural mental health project that aimed at improving the cultural responsiveness of mainstream mental health service providers in Australia.
Meetings and communiques
The Council meets bimonthly and each meeting has a specific topic for consideration. Following the meeting the Council prepares a Public Communique.
Contact the Council
The Council can be contacted through the Council Secretariat at:
Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing
GPO Box 825
Canberra City, 2601